English 1121 Spring 2021

Professor:  Rebekah Coleman

Office Hours:  Thursdays from 11:15 to 12

Email: RColeman@citytech.cuny.edu 

Synchronous Course Meeting Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:00 AM – 11:15 

*This is when we meet on Zoom, live together, as a class. See the further explanation below.


Zoom Link (for synchronous course meetings and office hours):


*Instructions for Accessing ZOOM

If you have never used Zoom before, you might find the following instructional video helpful. If after watching the video and reading the instructions, you still have questions please feel free to email me at rcoleman@cuny.citytech.edu. 

Instructions link: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-Joining-a-meeting

Course Description:  

This course focuses on writing, writing and more writing! Over the semester you will have many different types of reading and writing assignments, some short and some long. We will continue to strengthen our research, reading, and writing techniques and strategies to make our writing stronger and more effective. Throughout the course, we will also frequently stop to reflect on the writing process and what we have learned so far. The course culminates with a portfolio of all your finished work that will consist of at least 6,000 words. Don’t panic! It will include a combination of the work we generate over throughout the course! 


CUNY proficiency in reading and writing.


Self Care

There isn’t a handbook for the situation we are in right now as a state and a nation, and the resultant uncertainty can be stressful. We need to recognize the toll this situation might be taking on us and be compassionate with ourselves and with others. This semester, our priority will be to foster intellectual nourishment, social connection, and personal accommodation. And we will remain flexible, and if we have to, we will adjust to the situation (adapted from Prof. Brandon Bayne’s syllabus, UNC)


Course Expectations, Requirements and Policies

To become strong and proficient writers we must write and write and write. Each week you will be asked to write different pieces for different purposes. The writing will vary in length and genre and will cover a range of topics. There will also be readings each week that will serve as mentor texts to inspire and enhance our writing. 

OpenLab: Our Course Website

You will need to access OpenLab and join our course immediately. I will post everything you need for this class on OpenLab.It is extremely important that you familiarize yourself with our website and find out where everything is. This is where you will find your weekly assignments and your major assignments/ projects. It is also where you will post your responses to the course readings and engage in online discussions. Finally, the website is how we’ll keep in touch when not in synchronous class meetings, so please check in daily! You are responsible for being up-to-date and knowing what is on our course site.  Please contact me if you are having trouble!

Login to your OpenLab account and follow these instructions to join this course.

If you’re new to the OpenLab, follow these instructions to create an account and then join the course.

To learn how to post a discussion or reply to a post on OpenLab, please visit this link.If you need help with OpenLab, please visit the OpenLab Help tab on our Website. 

Readings/ Required Materials/ What to Bring to Zoom Class Meetings

These are materials you will need both for our synchronous class meetings and for your homework. Please try to bring/ have access to these materials during each class session. 

  • You are not required to buy any texts for this class. The texts used will be easily accessible online and will be posted on the OpenLab site. Consider bookmarking the class texts so they’re easily accessible. 
  • Join The New York Times (create a free Academic Pass account with your City Tech email).  Access to The New York Times will be very helpful over the course of the semester, especially for Units 2 and 3. 
  • A writing implement (pen/ pencil) and a notebook for the class (yes! even in an online class!). We will be engaging in lots of short writing assignments during class and jotting notes on key ideas/ topic. Even when we meet online! It will be helpful for our low-stakes, short writing assignments! 
  • Dictionary and online MLA formatting guide such as Perdue Owl
  • Computer folder dedicated to this class. The folder will house your assignment drafts and portfolio (collected writing).

Online Platforms

We will use several different online platforms in this course. Please make sure you are familiar with each of them and if you do not know how to use one of them, reach out to me immediately!

  • Zoom (see info about use of Zoom above)
  • Open Lab
  • Google Docs, Google Slides and Google Drive 
  • Dropbox (you will submit your major projects via Dropbox)

Course Meeting/ Format

Each week, your assignment will be posted on OpenLab under the section titled Weekly Assignments. The assignment will consist of both a PowerPoint that contains a lesson that covers key concepts and outlines the assignments for the week and a reading which will require a written response. On the PowerPoints, there will be activities and short answer responses that will count toward your Weekly Assignment Grade. You must respond to these on OpenLab.   

Our class will meet twice a week online for an hour and fifteen minutes synchronously (live) von Zoom. This meeting IS REQUIRED. You will also have homework that is due before the start of class on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. Many times, I will ask you to respond to each other’s writing.  We will work on developing community both in our Zooms, and in our online written community– by writing. This work is also required!

If you are unable to make a Zoom meeting you must email me ahead of time and make up the work as you would an in-person class.

**This is a discussion-based class and assignments are cumulative. It is crucial that you keep up with the work and participate on a regular basis. Students who regularly fail to keep up with the readings, writing, and discussions (online or on Zoom) will fall behind on the daily reading and writing assignments. The daily assignments build upon previous work and lead towards success in the major projects. In order to succeed in the class, students will need to stay on task and keep up with the work. Students who fall behind will likely have a difficult time catching up.   **

Office Hours

You are always welcome to meet with me! In fact, I highly recommended that you visit me during virtual office hours at least once over the course of the semester. This visit will count toward your Weekly Assignment grade. Our office visits will be much more effective if we can look at past assignments together to find patterns in your writing, so please be prepared to discuss one of your writing assignments during our meeting. We will use the time to discuss your progress in the course and address any particular writing challenges or goals you may have. Of course, please feel free to talk with me as many times during the semester as you like!

Course Load Expectations

A full time course load for a college student is 4 classes. At forty hours per week, that breaks down to 10 hours per class. Plan to spend at least 2.5 hours for class-based work (discussions, group work, assignments) and 7.5 hours on homework for each week on average.  Some weeks will be more. Some less. 

Formatting and MLA Citations

All formal assignments should be typed and formatted according to MLA guidelines. Use 12 point Times New Roman font with a one-inch margin on all sides.  We will review the MLA guidelines in class.  There are several great websites to use as a guide: Purdue’s Online Writing Lab found at https://owl.english.purdue.edu or Excelsior Owl’s Writing Lab found at https://owl.excelsior.edu and the MLA site at https://style.mla.org.  


I expect the words and ideas that you hand in to be your own or else properly cited. Plagiarism is when you copy specific information from a source or take someone else’s original ideas and do not give credit to the source. Even when you paraphrase someone’s original ideas, it is still considered plagiarism if you do not credit the author for their word. In class we will discuss exactly what constitutes plagiarism.  Please come and speak to me if you have any questions about how to incorporate ideas from a source or how to credit a source. Plagiarism will result in an automatic F grade for the assignment. (See additional information under University Policies section). 

Writing Center

For one-on-one help with your writing assignments, send an email to CityTechWritingCenter@gmail requesting an appointment. You will receive an automatic reply with information about available tutoring sessions.


Your grade will be split into two parts: The Final Portfolio, which will include revisions of all your major projects, and your Weekly Assignments, which will include all a combination of homework and class participation (class discussions, online or on Zoom, homework assignments and basically everything else you post online).  The Final Portfolio will comprise 60% of your final grade and Homework/ Participation will comprise 40% of your final grade.

Final Portfolio

This course is a portfolio-based writing course, meaning that where you end up is more important than where you start, at least in terms of grading. At the end of the semester students will turn in a final portfolio. Your final portfolio will be a showcase of the work you have completed in class so far. You will be encouraged to revise Projects 1 and 2 and resubmit them for a higher grade. It must have at least 6,000 words. It will include the following items: 

Project 1: Discourse Community Assignment 10%

Project 2: Annotated Bibliography 15%

Project 3: Multimodal Project 15%

Project 1 and 2 Reflections 10%

Final Reflection: 10%

*At the end of the semester you will write a reflective personal essay that asks you to look back over the year and reflect on your learning and consider how you will use your learning in future classes and the world outside of City Tech.

Weekly Assignments

You’ll see that your Weekly Assignment counts for 40% of your grade in this class. What does this mean? How is this calculated? Why is this such a high percentage?

Let’s look at that last question first: in this class, you’re graded almost as much on your weekly low-stakes assignments as you are on your high-stakes Project assignments. This is because in this class, you’re not learning how to write one particular assignment, or how to do one particular thing, you are learning about the process of writing (and reading—and researching) and all of those things are the behind-the-scenes work, the homework.

The good news is this: I almost never grade you on grammar in your homework. Your homework is a place for you to get your thoughts and ideas down in words. Here, we will work on reading, research, brainstorming and organization.

The Weekly Assignments are a combination of low-states writing assignments, in-class or online discussions, reading and reading responses and completion of the Weekly PowerPoint and required activities. 

Late Work

Work is counted as late if it is not provided to me before or during the class time on the due date (if you email it to me later that day, it is considered late).  If outside circumstances make a deadline impossible to meet, it is your responsibility to contact me ahead of time to discuss a possible extension.

Assignments turned in one class period late will receive a reduction of one full-letter grade (B → C).  Assignments turned in more than one class period late may not be accepted.


In order to succeed in the class, students will need to attend class regularly (on Zoom). Students who fall behind will likely have a difficult time catching up. One thing you may not know is that, in face-to-face classes, we take attendance for your sake as much as for our own. If someone isn’t coming to class, we worry they won’t succeed in a writing class– and that’s because, as I said above, writing is more about work and learning your own process than it is about magical talent. Even in an online class, you have to show up. And, by the way, we do take attendance in online courses– we do it by checking you’ve done the daily assignments. Showing up means attending synchronous class (when possible), participating in the online discussion posts, and keeping up with the weekly assignments. 

Major Projects and Assignments

We have 4 Modules. In the first 3 Modules you will complete one major writing project that will build toward your final portfolio. In Module 1, you will explore the concept of Discourse Communities and write about one of your Discourse Communities. In Module 2, you will begin a research and inquiry process that will span Modules 2 and 3 and for Module 2 you will write an Annotated Bibliography on 4 sources. In Module 3, you will create a multimodal project using your research. In Module 4, you will finalize your portfolio using the texts you created during the semester. 

Module 1: Discourse Communities

In Module One, we will explore the concept of Discourse Communities and identify one Discourse Community that you are a part of. You will research the Discourse Community, find an important artifact to the Discourse Community and finally write an analysis of the Discourse Community. 

*Project 1: Discourse Communities

You will write a 1000 word analysis of your Discourse Community introducing it to an outsider. You must both prove the Discourse Community is in fact a Discourse Community and effectively reach your intended audience. 

Module 2: Research and Inquiry

You will begin a research and inquiry process that will span Modules 2 and 3. 

*Project 2: Research and Inquiry

You will prepare a short oral presentation on your research and then write an annotated bibliography on your 4 sources that is at least 1200 words.

Module 3: Documenting Your Life: A Multimodal Experience

In Module 3, you will take a close look at the past year, focusing on major events like the pandemic, the protests for racial justice, the 2020 election, the insurrection, the vaccine and other events that will define your generation. We will also look at various multimodal texts (spoken word poems, TedX Talks, Podcasts, Photo Essays, etc.). 

*Project 3: Multimodal Repurposing

In this assignment, you will make a multimedia document (we’ll talk more about this later, but basically, it will need to have words and images, or words and sounds– or maybe all three) that answers one (or both) of the following questions: How has the past year challenged or changed you? What have you learned from the hardships of the past year that you would like to share with others? You will also write an accompanying author or artist’s statement. Together, the two pieces will be at least 1800 words.

Module 4: Final Portfolio and Reflection

For your final portfolio you will compile a revised and edited version of all of your projects and your Module 1 and 2 Reflections. You will also write a 1000 word final reflection that looks back on your writing experience over the course. 

Learning Outcomes

It is expected that at a minimum, students in ENG 1121 will:

Read and listen critically and analytically in a variety of genres and rhetorical situations: Identify and evaluate exigencies, purposes, claims, supporting evidence, and underlying assumptions in a variety of texts, genres, and media.

Adapt to and compose in a variety of genres: Adapt writing conventions in ways that are suitable to different exigencies and purposes in a variety of contexts, including academic, workplace, and civic audiences. When appropriate, repurpose prior work to new genres, audiences, and media by adjusting delivery, design, tone, organization, and language.

Use research as a process of inquiry and engagement with multiple perspectives: Learn to focus on a topic and develop research questions that lead to propositions and claims that can be supported with well-reasoned arguments. Persuasively communicate and repurpose research projects across a variety of contexts, purposes, audiences, and media. Demonstrate research skills through attribution and citation gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing both primary and secondary sources. Learn how to use appropriate citation styles depending on disciplinary and situational requirements (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.).

Use reflection and other metacognitive processes to revise prior assumptions about reading and writing and transfer acquired knowledge into new writing situations. Students write reflections of their own reading and writing process from the beginning and throughout the semester with the intention to transfer their acquired knowledge about genre and composing practices into new writing situations.

Demonstrate the social and ethical responsibilities and consequences of writing: Recognize that first-year writing includes academic, workplace, and civic contexts, all of which require careful deliberation concerning the ethical and social ramifications concerning fairness, inclusivity, and respect for diversity. Write and revise for academic and broader, public audiences accordingly.

Compose in 21st Century Environments: Learn to choose among the most current and effective delivery methods for different composing situations. Students learn to compose in new media environments, including alphabetic texts, still and moving images, sonic, and mixed media compositions. Use digital media platforms appropriate to audience and purpose.


University Policies

Accessibility Statement

City Tech is committed to supporting the educational goals of enrolled students with disabilities in the areas of enrollment, academic advisement, tutoring, assistive technologies and testing accommodations. If you have or think you may have a disability, you may be eligible for reasonable accommodations or academic adjustments as provided under applicable federal, state and city laws. You may also request services for temporary conditions or medical issues under certain circumstances. If you have questions about your eligibility or would like to seek accommodation services or academic adjustments, please contact the Center for Student Accessibility at 300 Jay Street room L-237, 718 260 5143 or http://www.citytech.cuny.edu/accessibility/.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism Statement 

Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music, inventions, and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting, and citing sources. As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the College recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity. Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited at New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion.

Sanctions for Academic Integrity Violations 

In accordance with the CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity, NYCCT empowers its Academic Integrity Committee and Academic Integrity Officer to process violations of the CUNY Academic Integrity Policy. As stated in the student handbook, all instructors must report all instances of academic dishonesty to the Academic Integrity Officer.

Microsoft Office 

The City University of New York provides Microsoft Office 365 for Education to students at participating colleges, including City Tech via the Microsoft Office in Education program. You sign in using your Blackboard credentials (this is different than your regular CityTech email) and have online access to MS Word, Powerpoint, Excel and other programs in the MS Office Suite. You may also be eligible to download the Suite to your computer.  For more information, see THIS LINK .


College Writing Center: citytechwritingcenter@gmail.com  (tutoring available in all subjects)

Advisors: The transition to college is challenging for everyone. It is helpful to periodically reflect on how you are doing in your classes, and how your anticipated area of study (major) is progressing, as well as to plan next steps. Academic advisors are able to help you navigate these paths. If you are in SEEK or ASAP or have declared your major, you have an assigned advisor with whom to schedule appointments. Others should seek out appointments with Dr. Julian Williams, Director of Liberal Arts & Sciences, jwilliams@citytech.cuny.edu.